Youthful Pune FC set for 2013/14 I-League campaign
Pune Football Club will sport an exciting mix of youth and experience as they gear up for their fifth consecutive season of top-flight football in India.
With the focus on youth this season, Pune FC has promoted four more youngsters from the Peninsula Pune FC Academy (PPFCA), while adding six new players, including the three foreigners, to the main squad.
Fifteen players have been retained by Pune FC, while midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh returns back after a season-long loan at Pailan Arrows to make up a 26-man squad.
In contrary, Pune FC released 11 players some of whom had served out their respective contracts, while some owing to management decision.
Among the new-signings, the three foreign player include – English defender Calum Angus, Australian attacker/ winger James Meyer (Asian quota) and Spanish-born Equatorial Guinea striker Raul Fabiani – who join playmaker Douhou Pierre to make up the overseas quota.
Calum comes to Pune FC with loads of experience after spending four seasons in Swedish top-flight. Similarly Meyer brings in continental experience having played in the AFC Champions League. Raul, on the other hand, has been a regular goalscorer in the Spanish Segunda division.
Pune-born striker Prakash Thorat adds local flavour to the team and is the one fans have been waiting to watch. Likewise, the other new-signing is winger Anthony D’Souza who joins fellow state-mates Velington Rocha and Caitano Costa in the team.
The last new signing – goalkeeper Arup Debnath – joins Shahinlal Meloly and Amrinder Singh to make it a three goalkeeper line-up for the upcoming season.
Graduating into the senior ranks are defenders Longjam Gobin Singh, Salam Ranjan Singh and Yendrembam Denechandra Meitei along with striker Thongkhosiem Haokip who will be joining fellow graduates Nikhil Kadam and Fanai Lalrempuia and former academy youngster Ganesh.
The inclusion of these four takes the total count of PPFCA and ex-club youth players to nine which includes Amrinder, Ganesh and Rocha.
Interestingly, barring Ganesh and Rocha, the PPFCA graduates have been part of Pune FC’s Under-20 I-League winning squads in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively.
The Pune FC technical staff includes new faces in Glen Johnson (goalkeeping coach), Gift Raikhan (former PPFCA Under-19 coach).
Pune FC 2013-14
Goalkeepers: Arup Debnath, Shahinlal Meloly, Amrinder Singh
Defenders: Othallo Tabia, Srikanth Ramu, Anas Edathodika, Caitano Costa, Gurjinder Kumar, Calum Angus, Zohmingliana Ralte, Salam Ranjan Singh, Longjam Gobin Singh, Yendrembam Denechandra Meitei
Midfielders: Venkatesh Shanmugam, Arata Izumi, Douhou Pierre, Dhanpal Ganesh, Mumtaz Akthar, Vellington Rocha, Nikhil Kadam, Fanai Lalrempuia, Anthony D’Souza, Jovel Martins
Strikers: Raul Fabiani, James Meyer, Prakash Thorat, Thongkhosiem Haokip
Released: Abhra Mondal, Chika Wali, James Moga, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Subash Singh, Karma Tsewang, Sukhwinder Singh, Asim Hassan, Khanthang Paite, Nallappan Mohanraj, Boima Karpeh
New Signings: Prakash Thorat, Anthony D’Souza, Arup Debnath, Raul Fabiani, Calum Angus, James Meyer
Promoted Under-19s: Salam Ranjan Singh, Longjam Gobin Singh, Yendrembam Denechandra Meitei, Thongkhosiem Haokip